Thrilling season boosts Euro TV viewership 20 December, 2010 Sebastian Vettel's championship winning season saw an increase in F1 TV audience in Europe Dec.20 (PVM) A thrilling 2010 Formula 1 season, which was decided in the final round of the championship in Abu Dhabi, saw a big rise in television viewing figures for the sport in the five main European markets. Five contenders until the penultimate round of the season helped boost TV figures According to a Watching Brief report, quoting analysis by SportBusiness Intelligence and Eurodata TV Worldwide, three of Europe’s five biggest television markets – Germany, Italy and Spain – showed substantial TV ratings increases. The UK showed a negligible increase while French viewership figures took a dip. Free-to-air-broadcasters in Germany, Italy, France, Spain and United Kingdom witnessed a cumulative average television audience of 24.86 million viewers per race in 2010, a 15-per-cent increase on 2009 and the biggest average since 2006. Also helping the ratings was the fact that three of the four contenders in the final race were from the so called big five European markets. Thus the Yas Marina race attracted the highest audience from these three countries totaled 40 million viewers. Sebastian vettel coupled to the Michael schuamcher factor helped boost TV viewership in Germany Vettel’s strong showing helped German broadcaster RTL figures which were 21 percent up compared to 2009. Spain’s La Sexta enjoyed a 38 percent increase in viewers thanks to Fernando Alonso’s move to Ferrari and his return to winning ways. Germany had the most drivers on the grid (six drivers until Nick Heidfeld’s return made it seven) and combined with the Michael Schumacher factor boosted RTL average to 6.29 million viewers per race, which was over a million more than in 2009. Alonso’s presence at Ferrari also boosted Italian audiences and saw a 21 percent increase in RAI grand prix viewership. Italian audiences were the biggest in the top five European territories with an average of 6.71 million viewers tuning in to F1 live coverage in 2010. Italian and Spanish TV figures were boosted by Fernando Alonso at Ferrari The Italian average is still way down on the Michael Schumacher at Ferrari days, of a decade ago, when the Italian average was 10-million viewers. However 10.59 million did tune in to watch the Abu Dhabi showdown. Despite the presence of two British drivers in the title race, both who were contenders to the end of the season, the viewership for BBC was up by only one percent. French viewers of TF1 fell by five percent with only 2.96 million tuning in each race day down from 3.12 million in 2009. A direct result of France not having a single driver in Formula 1, coupled to the demise of the French GP. Bec Worldwide figures show China has now become F1′s biggest audience with a total of 119m watching the races during the season. This overtook previous the leader Brazil, which had 110m viewers.